Churchill Downs' $70M renovation project means improvements for this year's Derby
Churchill Downs is unveiling some of the multi-million dollar upgrades being made at the track this year.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Churchill Downs is unveiling some of the multi-million dollar upgrades being made at the track this year.
Churchill Downs has been under construction for several months now, as part of a $70 million project that's almost complete. The changes will impact where visitors park, how they get into the track and where they'll sit.
New Starting Gate suites now overlook the start of the Kentucky Derby at the top of the homestretch.
The project added more than 1,800 seats through the 32 new suites and a third-floor grandstand.
Each suite costs $130,000 and hold around 30 guests.
"All of the suites will have someone in the suite making sure the hospitality is taken care of," Churchill Downs racetrack president, Kevin Flanery said. "This year, we will have some celebrities up here, some NFL hall of famers will be up in the Starting Gate Suites."
There is a chef's table, and food and beverage are included.
“We have this rich history that we want to celebrate, but we also know that we have to keep up with the times," said Flanery. "The entertainment options that everybody has are changing, expanding, people want a great experience. That’s why they come to the Derby, that’s why they come to Churchill Downs, it’s for that experience.”
Officials say parking flow has been improved and a new bus depot will help shuttle thousands of people around more efficiently.
50 acres of parking around the track have been updated, according to Churchill Downs General Manager, Ryan Jordan.
All parking on site is reserved for cars with permits reserved with tickets.
The Paddock Gates are a new entry.
A new temporary yellow bridge will accommodate pedestrians abiding by the new traffic and parking rules.
There will be "only two cross walks, at 3rd Street or at 9th Street," Jordan said. "That will allow the shuttle buses to move safely and securely. If [pedestrians] cross at 9th Street, they'll take the pedestrian bridge, which goes up and over the newly constructed Kentucky Derby Drive, which runs through our new parking lot."
Visitors can enter the track using three gate options.
"We have two main guest gates here on the front side,"Jordan said. "The newly constructed Paddock Gate and the Clubhouse Gate, formerly known as Gate 10. Those will be available any race day here at Churchill Downs. On Kentucky Derby Day and Kentucky Oaks Day, we will also open the Infield Gate on 4th Street, formally known as Gate Three and that will take people with general admission tickets directly into the infield."
For more information on where to park and how to get to the track, click here.
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